(BPT) - Summer's arrival means more time outdoors and partaking in warm weather fun with family and friends. If your New Year's resolution to be healthier has fallen by the wayside, summer can be a great time to reinvigorate your efforts.
Here are 10 simple things you and your family can do - one for every week of the break - to have a healthier summer:
1. Spend time with Mother Nature.
Take advantage of the warmer temperatures and reap the physical and mental health benefits of spending time with nature. You don't have to travel far to a hiking trail or the distant woods (although go for it if that's your thing); nature is right in your backyard. A walk in a nearby park or an hour in the garden can deliver the health benefits of communing with nature.
2. Get serious about sunscreen.
With more time outdoors, make sure to be diligent about applying sunscreen, especially when you're outside for several hours. One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. When selecting a sunscreen, make sure it is SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum and water resistant to effectively protect your skin.
3. Make more healthful meals at home.
Eating out too much isn't good for your health. You're more likely to overeat and make poor nutritional choices when at a restaurant. 'Cooking is the best way to make sure you are informed with what you are eating - because you are selecting everything in the dish you are preparing,' says Rebecca Lewis, a registered dietitian at HelloFresh, a meal-kit delivery service which makes cooking at home simple, quick and rewarding for subscribers. Each kit features two to five meals depending on your desired box, step-by-step directions, and all the ingredients you need to make cooking easy, fast and enjoyable. Visit hellofresh.com/healthy to learn more about how the service works and redeem a special offer.
4. Learn to love water.
Hydration is essential to a healthier life and summer heat can make it hard to stay hydrated, especially if you're not a fan of water. Rather than opting for sugary drinks or caffeinated soda, flavor your water with a classic lemon or lime wedge, or a unique mixture of strawberry and basil.
5. Take up yoga.
Increasing your physical activity is important to health, but it's not always fun to sweat it out in the gym or jog along a hot road on a summer day. Try taking up yoga, which can be tailored to people of all ages and fitness levels. Yoga improves both your physical and mental health, including increased flexibility and strength, as well as better breathing, according to the American Osteopathic Association.
6. Start hanging out at the farmer's market.
Fresh, seasonal produce is one of the perks of summer. In addition stocking your pantry and fridge with foods that are good for you and taste great, a trip to the farmer's market means some extra exercise as you walk the open-air aisles. 'Variety is the key to eating more fruits and veggies," Lewis says. "What better way to see the variety of the season than at a farmer's market? It's there you'll find treasures on a smaller local scale that your local grocery store doesn't carry!'
7. Floss daily.
More than a quarter of adult Americans fib to their dentists about flossing, according to a survey by the American Academy of Periodontology. Flossing daily benefits more than your dental health; it helps prevent periodontal disease, which has been linked to a host of other serious health issues. Not to mention, flossing will make your teeth looking brighter.
8. Find a new night-time home for your phone.
If you sleep with your phone by your bed, chances are it's caused you to go to bed later or disrupted your sleep with a new text or alert. To get a more restorative and healthy sleep, stop looking at your phone 30 minutes before going to bed to help mentally wind down, then keep it in a separate room to eliminate any disturbances.
9. Make time to nap.
If you're like most Americans, you probably don't get a full eight hours of sleep each night (even if you do stow your cellphone away from the bed). Napping for even just 20 minutes can help you feel more rested throughout the day. And few experiences are more relaxing and restorative than a nap in the shade on a summer afternoon.
10. Laugh it up!
It's summer! Enjoy it with family, friends and lots of laughter. Laughing benefits your physical and mental health, increasing the oxygen intake and endorphins in your brain. It's also a great stress reliever, so learn a new joke, find a funny meme, or attend a comedy show.